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As Summer Heats Up, Public Pools In Albany And Troy Face Some Struggles

When it was completed the Lincoln Park pool was one of the largest municipal pools in country and a model by which all others would be judged.
When it was completed the Lincoln Park pool was one of the largest municipal pools in country and a model by which all others would be judged.

With some very hot weather this holiday week, two upstate New York cities are hoping to keep residents cool. 

Albany's Lincoln Park and Mater Christi pools have served as oases for residents looking for relief from blazing summer heat.   "Lincoln Park pool was heavily utilized over the weekend. It was great to see so many people come out and be able to cool off. All of our spray pads are open. We are waiting for final word, signoff from the health department, on the opening of the Mater Christi pool. With all of the rain that we've had, the hot weather, then getting cool again and the all of the rain really kind of wreaked havoc with the chemistry of the pool so we're hoping that we get a clean bill of health today do we can get that pool open."

Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the city is committed to keeping municipal pools open. But engineers say the 88-year-old pool at Lincoln Park needs a costly rebuild... soon.   "Lincoln Park pool is a treasure, it is a nationally registered historic pool in the city of Albany, it finally was awarded that designation and we are using a grant that we received from Governor Cuomo through the Regional Economic Development Council to do an engineered design for the future of that pool. We know that it needs some major remediation but we want to do that in collaboration with the community and making sure we hear from all of the different voices of those who use the Lincoln Park Pool."

Across the river, Mayor Patrick Madden says the opening of the South Troy Pool, which along with the Knickebacker pool has been closed for two summers, had to be pushed back because of construction delays after the focus shifted from repair to remediation.   "Conditions revealed themselves, as they always do in renovation projects, that changed the approach. We did have to have some items manufactured and ship to the site. Some of those are beginning to arrive now."

The facilities at the 57-year-old pool have been repainted and rewired. Plumbing has been replaced. The liner and gutter systems have yet to be installed.   "What we have looked at initially here would have been about a five-year fix. Now we're looking at something that with proper care should last us at least two decades."

The Knickerbacker pool awaits a total rebuild. With repairs stalling the opening of the South Troy Pool, Madden says the city has come up with alternative ways to keep kids cool...   "We're entering into an agreement, this'll be our third year, with the YMCA of the Capital District, the Boys & Girls Club of the Capital Area, the Troy branch, and then the Lansingburgh Boys and Girls Club. They offer summer youth programming throughout July and August and it's a variety of things. It does include free time in the pool. It also includes swimming lessons, arts, organized sports. The past couple of years we were able to do fishing lessons and a fishing expedition out to the Tommahannock with DEC, hoping to do that again this year. In addition we have the splash pads open daily and we have five locations throughout the city.  On those hot sticky days we're also prepared to supplement those in other neighborhoods with fire hose sprinkler systems, which were pretty popular last year."

Troy bonded $1.4 million to repair the South Troy pool, which Madden expects will open before summer ends.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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